Growing Vegetables with Children

garden

This is the time of year when Ontarians start to plan their vegetable gardens and start seeds indoors. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or have never touched a pot of dirt in your life, gardening is possible! What’s more, it’s a great way to encourage children to learn about where their food comes from and grow some for themselves. Sharing this experience with your little ones may even get them more interested in trying some new foods, so give it a shot! After all, as moms, we know it’s a pretty incredible feeling to grow something beautiful.

WHAT TO GROW

The space you have will be a big factor in what you grow. If you have a sunny window, try something small like herbs. If you have a space in the yard you can play around with, go crazy! Here are some suggestions:

Herbs – they grow easily and can be used frequently. Kids can pick leaves and eat them anytime they like. Choose ones you’ll actually use! Basil, oregano, cilantro, mint, chives, etc.

Cherry Tomatoes – another one they can grab off the plant and snack on while they’re outside playing. Make sure they’re old enough to not choke!

Pumpkins – how much fun would it be to grow your own Halloween pumpkin or Thanksgiving pumpkin pie pumpkin? Kids will love to watch how big these can grow! Make sure you have a lot of space, these guys like to spread!

Radishes – if your kid happens to like these odd little root vegetables, then this is a definite for planting. They grow quickly and are harvested early in the season for quick gratification!

Beets – another fun root vegetable to grow because what of the big surprise when you dig it up! Let them guess what the vegetable under the ground is going to look like before you pull it up. And if they’re at the age where bathroom humour reigns, convince them to eat some and see what happens ;)

Carrots – carrots are a classic with kids. It is often one of the rare veggies that kids will eat and they’re fairly easy to grow in the ground or in deep containers. Part of the fun in growing your own is seeing all of the funny shapes they come in when you pull them up – they aren’t all perfect like at the grocery store! For bonus fun, plant rainbow carrots and do a little research as to why we mostly eat orange carrots now.

Bush Beans – you won’t have to worry about planting these beans near something they can grow up and they’ll be easy for little hands to reach in and pick. Fresh beans from the garden are hard for anyone to resist!

HOW TO PLANT

Seed packets will come with instructions as to whether you should start seeds indoors or plant them directly into the garden.

If you are going to start your own seeds, start now! Head to your nearest garden centre with the kids and have someone there instruct you on the best way to get them started with potting soil and starter pots. Another option is to have someone else (a nursery) start your seeds for you and buy seedlings (small plants ready to plant in the ground) later in the spring.

Planting directly into the ground happens anytime from now through summer, depending on the seeds/seedlings. If the instructions say ‘after last frost’ then you have to wait until the end of May to be safe.

Water your seeds regularly and wait for the magic to happen!

 

 

 

ESA – Medway Valley Heritage Forest

medway

London has seven publicly-owned areas that have been labeled Environmentally Significant Areas or ESAs. We have talked about how great the Sifton Bog is for showing kids the changing seasons, and another great ESA is up in north London, the Medway Valley Heritage Forest.

Medway Valley is one of the three ESA’s in London that have paved areas and are accessible for families from stroller to wheelchair and everything in between. The paved entry way is just to the east of Sunningdale Golf Course on Sunningdale Road. The paved pathway will take you over the Medway Creek and through the Valley where you will find both noises and sights to engage and delight. If you’re quiet, you might be able to see the deer poking through the wood, the muskrats and beavers in the creek, the many different species of birds singing from all directions, and if you go at closer to sunset you will be serenaded by the the frogs!

The paved path ends just before a second serene bridge and the beginning of a wood-chipped trail that turns into a wide dirt path before a third bridge. This section of the trail is fairly easy for children to navigate on their own. Past that point, the trail gets very narrow and steep through the woods, around to another section that ends close to the beginning of the trail through to Fanshawe Park Road and across to the south section of Medway Valley.

The rest of the ESA is not paved and is south of Fanshawe Park Road with many access points throughout. The area is rich with the history of the Attawandaron people and the early European settlers.

RULES TO REMEMBER

• Please use the official access points indicated on the trail maps.
• Stay on the managed trails (marked with yellow or white blazes).
• Bicycles are permitted only on the asphalt or crushed gravel paths in Kilally Meadows and Medway Valley Heritage Forest. BICYCLES ARE NOT PERMITTED IN ANY OTHER LOCATIONS.
• Access is allowed from 6 am to 10 pm.
• Keep the ESAs litter free.
• All pets must be on leash (2 m/6 ft max.).
• Do not feed fish or wildlife.
• Releasing or dumping fish or wildlife of any kind is prohibited.
• Fishing is permitted with a provincial fishing licence. No hunting is permitted.
See additional rules on signs at ESA entrances.

For maps and more information, see HERE.

Sock Walk

sock walk

Earth Day is this week and so we are bringing you some more fun things to do to get your kids out in nature and thinking about their planet.

A Sock Walk is a great way to get kids thinking about native plants (and weeds!) in their environment: where they come from, how they spread,and how they grow. It’s a step up from the classic bean plant that kids grow in the elementary school years when they’re learning about seeds.

WHAT YOU NEED

1 sock per person

1 Ziploc baggie per sock OR one pot of dirt per sock

HOW TO DO IT

Head on down to your laundry room and grab a couple of those single socks whose mates have just disappeared forever or the socks with the huge holes you keep planning on mending (but never will).

Head out to your nearest park, field, overgrown meadow, forest or wooded area, Environmentally Significant Area (ESA) or any other place that is growing naturally and wildly.

Slip a sock over one of your shoes and have your kids do the same.

Walk around until your socks get good and dirty. Be sure to walk through any areas with plants growing (but safely! Don’t crush anything and stay on the path when required!).

Take off your socks carefully, turn them inside out to keep anything stuck to the sock safe.

When you get home, turn your sock right-side-in and put it either in your Ziploc baggie or in your pot of dirt and lightly cover it with more dirt.

Spray your sock with water in the baggie or water your pot.

Tape your baggie to a sunny window/place your pot on a warm, sunny window sill.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN

Wait a week or two and see what grows. Make sure you keep watering your sock as needed. If you have picked up any seeds along your way, your socks will sprout!

Bags of Love

MSP Bags of Love

My Sister’s Place is a place that welcomes any self-identifying woman with open arms as a safe place to work through issues relating to homelessness, mental health, abuse, and anything else that leads them to needing a safe haven.  They provide healthy meals, somewhere to shower and rest, use the internet, and access resources and supports for permanent housing, healing, and friendship.

This year, Bags of Love is aiming to collect 250 gift bags filled with treats and essentials for the women who use My Sister’s Place. These are women who don’t have the simple luxuries that many of us take for granted – a new toothbrush, some nail polish, candy, a magazine.

Please, take some time to fill a bag with love for one of the women. Aim for about $25 of un-open, new necessities and surprises, unwrapped and tucked inside a medium sized gift bag. When it’s full, drop it off at one of the two locations on the poster or contact jill@londonmoms.ca if you are unable to deliver it in time.  Do this with your kids, get your coworkers involved, spread the word to your friends. Team up with someone else to fill a bag or fill up more than one bag!

Deadline for donations is MAY 5.

Kids 1st Day

Kids-First-Day

Today is Kids 1st Day which is a chance to get out there with your little (or big!) ones and do some really fun things together all around the city for little to no cost! There are over 50 locations participating in Kids 1st Day with activities all across the city ranging from discounts on froyo at Kiwi Kraze and family swims at the YMCA to free mini golf at East Park and a treasure hunt through Eldon House. This is a GREAT opportunity to try out something new or different with your kids. Try some dance lessons, aikido, crafts or a new play space for free!

Activities are ongoing throughout the day, but not all activities run all day! Please check the time BEFORE you go to avoid disappointment! 

HOW IT WORKS

Have a look at the MAP or list of activities by area in the city: NORTH, SOUTH, EAST, WEST or CENTRAL to plan where you want to go!

At your first location, pick up a Kids 1st Day Passport for each kid and have them get it signed at every stop you make.

Submit your passport after your THIRD stop (make sure it’s signed!) for a chance to win some really cool PRIZES.

When the day is done and you’re crashing at home, go online and fill out the SURVEY for another chance to win.

WHERE TO GO

Here are the locations participating this year! For more details on their activities, see HERE.

Adventures on Wonderland – FREE

Aikido Network – FREE

ArtVenture Art Studio – FREE

Banting House National Historic Site – FREE

Bowlarama

Boys and Girls Club of London – FREE

Chapters – FREE

Childreach – FREE

Covent Garden Market – FREE

East Park Golf Gardens – FREE

Eldon House – FREE

Family Centre Carling Thames/Northbrae P.S. – FREE

Fanshawe Pioneer Village – FREE

Home Depot (Clarke Rd) – FREE

Indigo – FREE

Islamic Centre ofSouthwest Ontario – FREE

Kiwi Kraze (north) – FREE (limitations)

La Ribambelle – FREE

Laser Quest

London Children’s Museum – FREE

London Public Library (all branches) – FREE

Mad Science of London – FREE

Michaels Arts and Crafts (south)

Museum London – FREE

Museum of Ontario Archaeology – FREE

North London Dance Centre

O.N.E. Hip Hop Dance Studio – FREE

Ontario Early Years – London West – FREE

PC Cooking School (RCSS – east) – FREE

Scholar’s Choice – FREE

Scouts Canada – FREE

Sifton Properties Limited/Berkshire Club (Ricky Magic) – FREE

Ska-Nah-Doht Village & Museum

SLNRC Families First CAPC (Dotsy the Clown) – FREE

South London Community Pool

Stoney Creek Community Centre & YMCA – FREE

Storybook Gardens

U C MAS London – FREE

Whitehills Childcare – FREE

YMCA Bob Hayward – FREE

YMCA Centre Branch – FREE

 

This Weekend in London

APRIL

Now that spring has actually sprung, the city is coming alive with activities and events and nature! If the sun and blue sky aren’t enough to draw you out, pick from any of these fun things!

KIDS 1ST DAY

Tomorrow, Friday, April 17 is a PD day for kids and also Kids 1st Day! Check in with us first thing tomorrow morning for a run down on all the fun things to do and see in the city to celebrate!

BUDWEISER GARDENS

It’s a busy weekend at the Gardens! Friday night has the Tragically Hip making an appearance, Saturday you can see the Long Island Medium Theresa Caputo Live! and on Sunday the Harlem Globetrotters 2015 World Tour will be stopping in to wow and amaze your family. For all the details, see HERE.

SUPER ADOPTION DAY

This Saturday, April 18 the Western Fair District is hosting a Super Adoption Day for anyone interested in hearing about cat and dog adoption, helping or supporting the cause or in adopting some of the loving animals that they will have there to meet your family! 10:00am to 4:00pm in the Canada Building.

STORYBOOK GARDENS

Did you know that Storybook has opened up again? Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00am to 5:00pm only you can explore the park and between 11:00am and 3:00pm you can check out their new exhibits – the Peddle Car Track and Felix the Fox Archery.

ST THOMAS MOM TO MOM SPRING SALE

If you don’t mind the drive south, St Thomas Senior Centre will be home to the fourth annual Mom to Mom Spring Sale from 9:00 to 11:30am on Saturday, April 18.

HOME DEPOT LAWN WORKSHOP

Does your lawn seem daunting and confusing this time of year? You’re not alone, which is why Home Depot is offering a one-hour workshop this Saturday, April 18 at 10:00am on how to prepare your lawn for spring. Register HERE.

Residential Carbon Monoxide Alarms

carbon

Today is the deadline to have carbon monoxide detectors installed in your home if you live in a house/unit with fuel burning appliances or an attached garage. Alarms must be adjacent to any sleeping areas in your home. It is recommended that you have one on every level of your home, regardless of sleeping arrangements, for added safety. And take note – the alarms must be WORKING, so make sure you take time to test those alarms (and your fire/smoke alarms!) with each changing season.

From the London Fire Department News Release:

What is CO?

 CO is known as the silent killer because it is an invisible, tasteless and odourless gas that can be deadly.

 CO is produced when fuels such as propane, gasoline, natural gas, heating oil or wood do not burn completely in fuel-burning appliances and devices such as furnaces, gas or wood fireplaces, hot water heaters, stoves, barbeques, portable fuel-burning heaters and generators and vehicles.

Know the Symptoms of CO:

 Exposure to CO can cause flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, confusion and drowsiness. In severe cases, it can result in rapid loss of consciousness and death.

 If your CO alarm sounds, and you or other occupants suffer from symptoms of CO poisoning, get everyone out of the home to fresh air immediately. Then call 9-1-1 from outside the building.

Prevent CO in your home:

 Ensure all fuel-burning appliances in your home are inspected annually.

 Check that all outside appliance vents are not blocked.

 Never use a portable fuel-burning appliance inside (i.e. barbeques, portable heaters and generators).

For more information on carbon monoxide and carbon monoxide poisoning, see HERE.

WHERE TO BUY

If you’re scrambling to make this happen today, here is where carbon monoxide detectors can be purchased:

HOME DEPOT

LOWE’S

RONA

WALMART

COSTCO

CANADIAN TIRE

HOME HARDWARE

AMAZON.CA

 

 

 

 

 

Rock the Park

Rockthe park

Rock the Park is coming to Harris Park again this summer for lucky number thirteen! Yes, July is a long way away, but tickets for this event are selling fast because of the amazing names coming this year. While there is some controversy over the rules prohibiting a concert on Friday, the event is currently scheduled to run over four days: Tuesday, July 14, Wednesday, July 15, Thursday, July 16, and Saturday, July 18. This event is a Bethany’s Hope Foundation fundraiser, raising money for MLD (Metachromatic Leukodystrophy) research.

Here’s the current lineup:

TUESDAY, JULY 14 (gates open at 4:00pm)

Train

Smashmouth

Gin Blossoms

Matt Nathanson

WEDNESDAY, JULY 15 (gates open at 3:00pm)

Keith Urban

Thomas Rhett

Dallas Smith

Jess Moskaluke

THURSDAY, JULY 16 (gates open at 3:00pm)

Little Big Town

Lee Brice

Joe Nichols

Chad Brownlee

SATURDAY, JULY 18 (gates open at 3:00pm)

Billy Talent

Rise Against

Killswitch Engage

The Gaslight Anthem

TBA

TICKETS

There are a few different options for tickets: General Admission or VIP (designated table areas) for Tuesday or Saturday, a special two-day pass for Wednesday and Thursday, and a VIP two-day pass for Wednesday and Thursday (which are  SOLD OUT).

Tuesday G/A $60, VIP (reserved seating) $112

Wednesday/Thursday G/A $142, VIP SOLD OUT

Saturday G/A $60, VIP (standing room only) $99.50

Purchase tickets HERE or call the Box Office 519-672-1967 10:00am to 5:00pm, Monday through Friday, 10:00am to 2:00pm Saturday or stop by the Centennial Hall Box Office during the preceding office hours.

This is an all-ages event.

Super Adoption Day

SAD1

The slogan “Don’t Shop, Adopt!” has become very popular over the past few years as the attention for rescue agencies has grown. Many pets are left without a forever family due to illness, death, change of living situation or other reasons. These pets are wonderful, loving animals who need your family!

London will have it’s 6th annual Super Adoption Day with cats and dogs looking for their forever family to come and adopt them. Not sure about adoption? There will be people there to discuss the benefits of adoption, how the adoption process works, how to find the perfect animal for your family, and how to prepare your home for it’s new member. There will also be animal rescue groups there to discuss how you can get more involved or help out.

Please do not bring your current pets to the event! No animals are allowed other than the animals that are up for adoption.

THE EVENT

This Saturday, April 18 from 10:00am to 4:00pm

Canada Building, Western Fair District

 

 

Southwest Community Centre

ymca

There is a new Community Centre coming to southwest London and the city would like to hear YOUR thoughts on it!

The location will be on Southdale Road, west of Wonderland Road (for those old enough to remember Wally World – there). The Community Centre will have a YMCA, public library, indoor pool, double pad arena, and gymnasium. The projected opening is September 2018.

Sound interesting? Awful? Wonderful? Have questions?

There will be an OPEN HOUSE Project Launch and Community Consultation this Wednesday, April 15 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm at Westmount Mall at the Viscount Road entrance.